Filming the Epic of Gilgamesh
In order to undertake a project of this epic magnitude, one must first consider the many differing ways the film could take hold. The Epic of Gilgamesh is an age old story whose main attractions will be it's originality and antiquity. To cash in properly on Gilgamesh we must focus on bringing out the idea of Gilgamesh predating similar stories, casting actors who will capture the characters' mannerisms while still being easy to relate to, and using optimal special effects to combat the preconceived notions an audience may have about movies of this kind (thanks to the likes of Kevin Sorbo and Steve Reeves).
Primarily the idea is to keep Gilgamesh ...view middle of the document...
Gilgamesh should be strong (without evoking images of Kull the Conqueror, or Conan the Barbarian), and youngish, but with a weathered look to imply warriors traits. The actor must present the narcissistic nihilism of the early Gilgamesh and, later on, display the more humbled, post-anagnorosis Gilgamesh. For this range of whimsical egotism, to brooding, driven force, we should rely on the talents of Mel Gibson. Gibson gives a full range of acting abilities while looking weathered, and charming at the same time. Gibson's name would also lend credibility to a project many might dismiss as sword and sorcery. After his showing in Braveheart the audience would easily be able to see him as a non-Schwartzenegger swashbuckler.
The character of Enkidu is almost of equal importance to this film. The original idea was to have Gibson play both parts. This seemed to make the most sense seeing as how Enkidu is the mirror of Gilgamesh in allegedly every way. The problem arose however when we considered the cinematic precedents of this idea. Once again this is to be a serious film, and we are attempting to get as far away from sword-and sorcery camp as humanly possible. The film is to be as didactic as the original text (if possible). Looking at what Gibson's playing of both roles might mean to the audience led us to the recent example of Jean-Claude Van Damme playing twins, and on back to Hailey Mills in The Parent Trap. The thought of our epic being compared with either held little appeal for us, and the idea was therefor dismissed. Bearing the concepts of the twin motif being prevalent in the minds of moviegoers we elected to go an alternate route, forsaking even the idea of finding a similar looking actor to take the part. In stead I spoke to character actor Tony Todd, who has starred in The Crow, Candyman, and several episodes of different Star Trek series. Todd will be equipped with a long sable wig, and several other physical affectations to make him seem more animalistic. Todd's voice is a grunting, fearsome one that will lend an air of wildness to Enkidu's character.
Possibly the easiest character to cast was that of Ishtar. Ishtar must be beautiful, but sinister in a way that is not seen with your basic trash femme fatales. Our Ishtar is to be a wicked trickster figure with a streak of benevolence and sexiness. The obvious choice was Famke Janssen. After her stint as a Bond girl she made the perfect divine bad girl with a twist. Still she must be shown as one emanation of Ishtar. She must be weathered, and real, not overly Hollywood, as she is generally seen.
There seems no easy way to treat the character of the harlot Shamhat. Nineties audiences would hardly be receptive to the idea that Shamhat is actually a priestess of some kind, and that the week long sex scene with Enkidu is actually intended to be a cleansing and redeeming experience. Judeo-Christian value would creep in during judgment of this scene, and most would dismiss it as...